Howie Mandel Chats 'America's Got Talent,' OCD
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jun 13th 2010 11:00AM
Mandel chats with PopEater about the state of his OCD, filling the Hoff's shoes and what he really thinks of the vicious Piers Morgan.
"Hi," says Howie when I pick up the phone...
I love the way you say hi like we're old friends.
Well, we are, we've been talking for seconds. I feel as if I know you.
Well, I don't know if you remember, but I did interview you before.
Oh, I don't remember ... but on the phone, you look familiar.
You're the new judge on 'America's Got Talent.' You've got some pretty big shoes to fill. You're replacing the Hoff.
I'm not trying to fill his shoes. I look at it like I'm replacing Brandy, and Hoff just held the position 'til I was ready.
Is it hard being so judge-y?
Yes, very hard, but fulfilling. It's an amazing job for me. I've always loved talent; I've always loved watching it. I embrace and love the fabulous kind of talent as much as I love the "oh-my-god-I-don't-believe-this-is-real" kind ... and if you want to put the word talent with it, you can. I love all of it, the good and bad. Just the audacity to get up in front of a group of strangers and do what you do fascinates me. I feel like after 30 years on stage myself, pursuing and marketing and trying to make my way and navigate through this career, I feel I have something to offer. I also feel like I have an incredible amount of empathy for those people, but ultimately I'm honest.
Do you get along with Piers and Sharon?
Sharon is a neighbor, so we can carpool.
You carpool with Sharon?
I do. It's a very green show.
Neat. So how about Piers?
Piers ... we do get along, but I think he finds me incredibly annoying and knowing that and just seeing the seed of that makes me dig even harder. He shouldn't have let me know that, because I can imagine it's going to come to blows. I imagine I will get slapped or hit by the end of the season.
What's the deal with 'Deal or No Deal'?
They're airing new episodes now and I've not heard what the future is.
What happens if it doesn't get picked up?
Who are you? The glass is half empty? I never think like that. If you ask me on any given day what I'm doing tomorrow, I don't know.
Is your OCD better?
Not at all?
On certain days. As we speak, I'm in very good therapy and on medication. I'm OK at the moment. You and I aren't in the same room. I love this whole Internet thing. I love social networking. I can feel very social and amongst a large group of people without touching anyone.
Your kids are older.
Not older than me.
What happens when they get married? You'll have to kiss a lot of relatives and friends.
I don't kiss. I kiss my wife and kids. That's my circle of friends.
No, no, no! I do the fist bump. I can hug. That's outside the clothes. I wouldn't hug a nude person.
What's your worst symptom?
I have repetitive rituals. Checking doors, counting things, the cleanliness thing isn't even the worst of it. It's a big deal, it's a nightmare, but everyone has got a little cross to bear and that just happens to be mine. Life is great, I'm functioning, my career is good, I have a great family.
And your wife is a saint.
Absolutely. She deserves something. I think her gift is me being on the road and going to work. The gift that keeps us going is me going, "Bye!"
Have you got a self-flushing toilet?
Yeah, I've got a very futuristic toilet. It's all hands free. Not only self-flushing, the seat goes up. There's a washer and dryer.
You must love it.
It's not so much love as a necessity. Now I know why they call it a throne. I feel like such a king. It beckons me.
Do you wear a crown when you're on it?
I think once you shave your head a tiara doesn't work.
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